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Michelle Jokisch Polo joins WKAR, adding Latinx reporting to capital region news coverage

portrait: Michelle Jokisch Polo
Michelle Jokisch Polo

Available here in Spanish |  Michelle Jokisch Polo has joined the news team at WKAR Public Media as the public broadcasting station's Latinx stories reporter and weekend host. WKAR is an NPR News affiliate serving Michigan's capital region from Michigan State University.

As WKAR’s Latinx stories reporter, Jokisch Polo will be reporting on stories affecting Michigan’s Latinx community, with online versions of select stories being presented in both Spanish and English. The creation of this new reporting role is part of WKAR's continued commitment to reach out to the Latinx community.

In addition to her reporting, Jokisch Polo also will be the voice of WKAR’s weekend news programs beginning Saturday, August 29. She will provide news updates as the local host for Weekend Edition (8 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and Weekend All Things Considered 5 p.m.-6 p.m.) on 90.5 FM.

“WKAR strives to chronicle and inform Michigan's Latinx community and bring to light how underrepresented groups are integral to the story of this state,” said Karel Vega, managing editor for WKAR News. “Michelle's reporting experience makes her a perfect fit for this role.”

WKAR has provided programming for mid-Michigan's Latinx community for more than 50 years. Committed to building on that history, the station has set new goals that include showcasing talent and content that appeals to people of varied ages, ideologies, and ethnic backgrounds; and increasing the diversity of voices and stories in core programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

"We know that to reach those goals, we need to form new, meaningful connections with community members to help us serve the needs of a broader community; to help us find and tell the stories that need to be told,” said Susi Elkins, director of broadcasting and general manager at WKAR. “This new reporting role grew out of conversations we’ve been having with leaders from mid-Michigan's Latinx community.”

Dr. Saturnino Rodriguez is publisher and founder of AdelanteForward and secretary of the Lansing School Board of Education. He served on the committee advising WKAR on the new Latinx stories reporting role.

“During her interview, Jokisch Polo demonstrated her great interest in serving our community and providing us with the best possible information to improve our lives in all aspects,” said Rodriguez. “She clearly is committed to the new goals and objectives of WKAR and to making them part of the whole community.”

Before joining WKAR, Michelle Jokisch Polo was the inclusion reporter at WGVU Public Media in Grand Rapids, Mich., covering stories of people at the intersections of racial justice, immigration reform, criminal justice system reform, reproductive justice and trans and queer liberation. Michelle began her journalism career as the head reporter at El Vocero Hispano, the largest Hispanic newspaper in Michigan.

WKAR has also recently expanded Latinx programming on both 90.5 FM and FM 105.1/AM 870. The stations now broadcast 13 hours of Latinx news and arts programming each week, including Lînea Abierta, Pulsa de la Tarde, Latino USA, Alt.Latino, The Latino Alternative and Fiesta! For updated broadcast schedules, visit wkar.org

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